Ezekiel 9:1-7, 10:18-22
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
Do we hurt others? Do others hurt us? Yes. No doubt about it. Jesus is trying to get us to address the faults or hurts that occur between two people. It may very well be that the one who hurts someone simply does not know or realize or even more seriously, does not want to admit what happened. You and I can be bearing faults that occurred sometimes, unfortunately, in our early years. They have never been resolved. Doing nothing, results in solving nothing. How wise of Jesus to remind us that faults do need to be addressed. No sweeping them under the rug.
Isn’t it interesting that we are encouraged to deal first of all with the person who inflicted the fault. If that doesn’t work, get several concerned people to sit in on the attempt at reconciliation. I honestly think that He would have no problem if we turn to the professional councilor or psychologist or psychiatrist. We may also realize that there is a larger group out there. In this instance Jesus is asking help from the faith community, the Church. How often I have encouraged people to attend the Eucharist celebration on Sunday. Would Jesus recommend the various 12 Step programs, too? Yes. How many rediscover their God or Higher Power. Getting to know these people at Church or in the various support groups can put us in touch with a lot of wisdom and love. The A.C.T.S groups that are forming around the country are seeking to deepen the sense of community support and love which is found in the faith community, the local Church. Loving support does enable us to deal with the faults that we have experienced or inflicted.
Jesus has made it very clear that all of us are faced with a lifelong challenge: "You shall love the Lord, your God, and your neighbor as yourself." Love myself? Isn’t that selfish? The obvious answer is: Loving yourself means that you need to take care of yourself. Being able to say ‘no’ at times in order to take care of yourself is just fine. Loving yourself gives you the ability to nurture your spiritual and your human side. And it insures that it’s okay to have boundaries.
Is it always the other person’s fault?! Will you get together with someone whom you have hurt? When unjustly hurt, will you stand up for yourself? Can you protect your boundaries?
Fr. Peter Berendt, C.P. is on the retreat team at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center, Houston, Texas.